A Plea From a Former Budget Bride

Business

I’ve been thinking over this post for a couple of weeks after some conversations with other photographers and some friends who are getting married.  I debated whether or not to post it because it’s been a hot topic lately but having been a budget bride (and when I say budget I mean peanuts) I want to help others learn from my huge mistake.

When Rog and I got married we had a super limited budget ($4500 for EVERYTHING) because we did not want to go into debt getting married.  For us a lasting marriage was more important than the wedding itself because one day is nothing in the grand scheme of life.   However, I told Rog the one thing that was most important to me was having nice photos that we could look back on in fifty years.  This was before I entered the industry as a professional so I did not have any contacts or friends I could turn to so I went to Google.  Almost none of the photographers whose sites I went to had any sort of prices listed so I filled out contact form after contact form with info, often times being asked what my budget was.  I emailed at least twenty five different people and heard back from three.  THREE.  The three who emailed me back pretty much said they were out of my budget and shooed me along.  I felt like I was annoying them with my inquiries.

I was completely disheartened and didn’t think I would find anyone so I turned to a friend with a camera.  I am just straight up going to tell you don’t do it!  You will regret it.  Maybe not the first day or the first month but you will.

Friends with cameras cannot anticipate moments or help with schedules the way a photographer can.  Having worked a full season of weddings for my dear friend Sarah of Ampersand Photography I can say this with confidence.  Just this past season I learned so much about scheduling and knowing when moments were going to happen because once they’re gone that’s it.  Then there’s the matter of artistic point of view.  Any person with a camera can take a photo of a first kiss but photographer’s see moments so differently and capture them beautifully.  You friend with a camera is not going to capture your first dance or your dad seeing you in your dress for the first time the way a professional photographer can.  They just aren’t.

So please, I beg you, take time and do your homework.  Email photographers.  Ask for referrals if they’re out of your budget.  Chances are they know someone who can and wants to work with you.  Don’t be disheartened by unanswered emails.  You deserve to work with someone who values you and your time.  Just don’t hire a friend to take your photos.  I want you to love your images in a way that I never will be able to.

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Photo second shot for Sarah Danaher of Ampersand Photography

The Story of Our Couch Friends

Personal

In honor of my trip to Utah to visit my best friend Brit I wanted to share the random and slightly crazy story of how we met… through Craigslist.

In the summer of 2011 Rog and I listed our couch on Craigslist after I decided I was sick of it and wanted something new.  It had been our free Craigslist couch we had picked up right after we moved in together so we figured we’d pass it on.  Within an hour of posting it I had an email from a lady named Brit saying she and her family had just moved to the area, they were interested in the couch, and could pick it up ASAP.  We emailed back and forth to coordinate times and I learned through that correspondence she was expecting and they lived in an apartment on the 9th floor of their building.

Her husband Dave came that afternoon to pick up the couch and Rog helped him get it loaded up in their minivan.  About five minutes after he left I looked at Rog and asked him how the heck they were going to get that couch up nine flights since Brit was pregnant and they didn’t know anyone here?!  I didn’t care how far away they were I wanted to help them move the couch (or rather volunteer Rog to help.)  I called the number Brit had given me and we offered to come help them move the couch.  She was ecstatic, gave us their address, and we headed over.

It turned out they only lived a little over a mile down the road so we made it in no time.  Dave walked us up to the apartment so Rog could see where they had to go with the couch and I ended up staying and hanging out with Brit while the guys headed down to get it.  Brit and I sat around laughing and chatting while the guys maneuvered the couch up and through their tiny hallway into their apartment.

After that day we all started hanging out quite a bit.  We went to Great Falls, swing dancing at Glen Echo, shared countless meals and movie nights together, Rog and I babysat their girls, and just generally had a lot of fun and enjoyed hanging out.  This past spring, they packed up and headed on another adventure to Saudi Arabia.  I miss them dearly but I am so blessed it worked out that I am able to fly out to visit her and the girls while they are in Utah.  I cannot wait and am excited to have lots of photos to post when I get back!

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Brit with Kaelyn at her blessing.

Valentine, Thank You

Personal

Roger and I are both very private people.  We do not feel the need to post public announcements on social media promulgating our undying love for one another or make sure that the whole world knows I bought him a Vermont teddy bear for Valentine’s.

All kidding aside though, I am breaking our no PDA pact because Rog has been my single biggest supporter from day one and that deserves a big ole thank you.

I was struggling with decisions about what I wanted (or rather needed) to do with my life.  I always kept coming back to photography but didn’t think that was an acceptable career choice.  When I finally decided what the heck it’s what I love and told Roger I wanted to start my own business in the winter of 2011 he gave me his blessing and told me he would do anything to help me succeed.

I shot for family friends all winter but had zero weddings under my belt. I really wanted to find a mentor who I could learn from but also help (you should always be willing to give before you receive.)  This was no doubt my biggest struggle.  I emailed every person who’s work I loved and got a bunch of big fat “no’s.”  Talk about a blow to one’s ego.  I was down in the dumps for weeks but Rog kept pushing me forward, telling me not give up on my dreams.  I finally found someone willing to take a chance on me (thank you, sweet Sarah!) and we worked together for all of the 2012 wedding season.

Here it is almost the spring of 2013 and I have assisted and second shot FOURTEEN weddings.  FOURTEEN.  And I have two more this weekend!  I could not have fathomed this in my wildest dreams.

I won’t say it’s easy starting a business because it is far from it.  It takes a lot of discipline, hard work,  and a lot of money.  I am so beyond thankful for everything Rog has poured into my business.  He has supported both of us on his income for the last year, given any extra dime we had to go towards camera gear, business insurance, etc., helped me sift through logo designs, and many other random things that come with owning a business.

I know that I get caught up in life too often and sometimes forget to say thank you or tell him I appreciate all he does but I would not have come this far without his help.  He is the one person who gives me a swift kick in the pants when it’s needed and for that I am thankful.

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Brunsting Family | Old Town Alexandria

Family

During the quiet months of winter I love spending time with families and capturing their unique and special dynamic.  The Brunstings have been friends of my husband since Roger and Logan were deployed together a few years ago.  They just moved here recently and it was nice to get to spend a lovely, though somewhat chilly, afternoon showing them my favorite little city.

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A New Look

Business

I love walking up to homes that have wreaths adorning the front door; there is just something that is so delightful seeing them gracing the outside with their beauty.  I knew I wanted a brand that was welcoming and evoked a sense of warmth while still having a touch of elegance so when Krista came to me with the idea of the wreath it fit perfectly.  Krista took the initial drawing, tweaked it (multiple times I might add) and designed the most gorgeous logo.  I feel like it represents me so well and I cannot wait to order new product packaging for client orders!

Krista, thank you so very much!  I am thrilled with the final product.  You are the bee’s knees!

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